Do I Need to Brush My Cat's Teeth?

As with humans and their canine counterparts, dental care is one of the best ways to help keep your cat's teeth and gums healthy. Since brushing a cat’s teeth is a notoriously difficult task, it’s important to start as early as possible in your feline friend's life so he or she will become accustomed to the process. 

My cat won’t let me brush her teeth

If you’ve ever made an unsuccessful attempt to brush your cat’s teeth, you’re not alone. Before you even attempt to brush, it’s a good idea to get your cat used to having his or her lips lifted and teeth exposed for short periods of time.

What should I use to brush my cat’s teeth?

Use a moistened cat toothbrush with soft bristles. If you do not have a specially designed pet toothbrush, you can also use a child’s toothbrush, a finger toothbrush, gauze around a finger or a cotton swab.

Do I need to use a special toothpaste to brush my cat’s teeth?

Pet toothpaste, often flavored like poultry, malt and other feline-friendly varieties is your best option. Never use human toothpaste, baking soda or salt. While safe for pet owners themselves, these cleaning agents can be harmful to your cat if swallowed.

At-home teeth cleaning tips

Keep the following tips in mind to make the process easier for you and more comfortable for your cat. You can also watch our at-home dental care video to see the process in action.

  • Find a comfortable place, like your lap or a favorite resting spot for your cat to sit during the tooth-brushing session.
  • Use a specially designed cat toothbrush or a recommended alternative.
  • Never use human toothpaste. Instead, use pet-safe toothpaste with a favorable feline flavor.
  • Give your cat a small sample of the toothpaste to introduce the taste.
  • Lift the lip to expose the outside surfaces of your cat’s gums and teeth.
  • Brush with gentle motions to clean the teeth and gums, as you would your own.
  • Clean the outside (cheek-facing) surfaces, as most pets will not allow you to brush the inside surface of the teeth.
  • Be sure to reach the back upper molars and canines, as these teeth tend to quickly build up tartar.

How often should I brush my cat’s teeth at home?

Your cat's teeth should be brushed as often as possible, ideally every day. There are numerous dental care products, pastes, solutions, brushes, dental diets and tartar control treats that can help you provide the daily dental care your cat deserves. Let your local Banfield veterinarian or pet care professional help you choose the best products for your pet

How often should I have my cat’s teeth professionally cleaned?

Even with a diligent at-home dental care routine, adult cats should have their teeth professionally cleaned at least once per year. These cleanings allow us to assess your cat’s overall oral health and thoroughly prevent against tartar buildup, gingivitis or gum disease and other conditions that can lead to life-threatening illnesses such as organ failure and heart disease if left untreated.

Need more information?

Call 1.877.443.7469 to schedule a cleaning or consultation at your neighborhood Banfield. You can also learn more about Banfield’s best-in-class dental health approach on our dental care page.

Did you know?

Active Prevention and Special Care Optimum Wellness Plans include annual dental cleanings for adult cats.

Learn more about how you can give your pet the preventive care he deserves by choosing a personalized Optimum Wellness Plan today.